James Richard Wangemann
April 6, 1928 – September 18, 2020
James R. Wangemann was born on April 6, 1928 in Chicago, IL, to Lydia and Arno Wangemann. He spent his childhood and early adulthood in Sheboygan, WI. He was a dedicated Boy Scout and at the age of 15 he earned the coveted rank of Eagle Scout. At the age of 17 he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard and served during WWII off the east coast of the US. He returned to Sheboygan where he married Julianna Graff, had 2 daughters and was a member of the Sheboygan Yacht Club where he served as Vice Commodore and the Elks Club. He had a long and successful career in sales which is what eventually brought about a move to Des Moines, IA. He was an avid and accomplished accordion player and performed at numerous venues in the Des Moines area including at the Iowa State Fair. He is known to many as “The Fat Cat” as he did solo performances at retirement and nursing homes in his later years. In 1976 he married Elzora Horner and they had 44 years together before she passed this last Feb. 14 on their wedding anniversary. During those years they enjoyed music and dancing, golfing and traveling the world together. They were always up for anything and embraced life with great enthusiasm.
Jim passed from this world on September 18, 2020 in Des Moines, IA. He is survived by his daughters, Alex Sonnenberg (Stew) of Folsom, CA, and Sherry Bettencourt (Louis) of Plymouth, CA. He is further survived by his sister Barbara (Bob) Miller and brother Bill (Joy), both of Wisconsin. Elzora’s family, Sue Horner, Bill (Kathy) Horner of Des Moines and Bob (Lori) Horner of Florida along with many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Jim was laid to rest in a private family ceremony at Resthaven Mausoleum in West Des Moines, Iowa.
- Iowa Public Television